Race walker Alana Barber was back to grassroots racing at the NZ Road Walking and Running championships in Tauriko's industrial area at the weekend.
Just eight days earlier, the Aucklander had competed in the palatial Beijing Olympic Stadium at the Athletics World Championship where she broke the New Zealand record.
"That was a really great experience, and today is just a kind of fun race for me just to be back home competing against friends and seeing everyone again," she said after taking the New Zealand 10km title on Saturday.
"I wasn't expecting too much from myself because of the race last week. I got 46m25s, so it wasn't a fantastic time. The New Zealand record is 43 minutes flat, so I was quite a bit off that."
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
Having already clocked a time just 20 seconds outside the Rio Olympic qualifying standard for the 20km, the Beijing experience has motivated Barber to press for a place in New Zealand's 2016 Olympic team.
"It made me want to continue and do even better. I'm quite close to the qualifying standard for the Olympics, so that's keeping me competitive.
"It was an amazing environment in Beijing. The stadium was quite full when we began, then we went out on to the road and did laps on the road (course) and there were 30 Chinese drummers that were just banging drums that were so loud as we went round and that created such an incredible atmosphere. Also I was racing against the best in the world. It was amazing, but it's nice to be home."
Based in both Auckland and Melbourne, Barber will return to China before the end of the month for a big money race near Shanghai.
"The Chinese just seem to have money to encourage elite athletes and love hosting things and love getting elite athletes coming over to compete against their best."